Friday, April 29, 2016

All I can say is ADAPTATION ADAPTATION ADAPTATION!!!

When I go walking in the toy section of the store and look at toys, I usually end up walking away in frustration. Then after searching a teacher supply catalog, or even a special needs catalog, I still feel so much dissatisfaction in the choices and the prices.  I'm at a loss, almost nothing will fit the needs of my kids.  In fact all three of them need something different educationally. I also get very frustrated when my children come home from school with worksheets like the ones below, almost daily with different content.  Don't get me wrong some day I would love for my children to be able to do these kinds of activities but for right now none of them are in a place to do so.  And then these papers are not adapted for a child with a significant visual impairment.  So I am learning to do the best I can as my child's advocate in the school, but at the same time I am learning what I can do at home to help them increase on the skill set they already have.  The entire point of my blog from this point forward will be to show you all how I adapt, and to show my children learning.  With snippets of information regarding trauma in children with multiple impairments and how to make connections with them.


Today I want to talk about adapting a product to meet the needs of kids with many disabilities.  I came across the product Hot Dots years ago when I was teaching.  I loved using them to reinforce skills.



 When I looked at the teaching that is being reinforced, in the kits Hot Dots sell, they will not work for my children, but I love the concept of reinforcing a correct answer with lights and music.  The pre made kits I find are not repetitive enough for my kids.  On one page you might be matching numbers and on the next page letters or words.  I see to many choices for my kiddos and way to many pictures of things that are confusing for my kids.  Also for my visually impaired daughter the photos are not big enough or have enough contrast.  But I really like the concept of the pen that reinforces the correct answer.  So I did some digging and ended up purchasing a different Hot Dots product.    The Hot Dots Make Your Own Kit.



I'm starting a new unit with the kids that uses buttons, and so I made my own sheets and put them in plastic protectors for durability.  For my VI kiddo, I make the image larger and separate and put a black background.   The great thing is after they master this skill I can go back to my pdf file, add another option, add words or whatever skill I want them to work on next. The entire reason for doing this is repetition.  My kids could work on this for weeks, over and over.  We repeat until it is mastered and even continue after mastery for review.   When I post my theme in a week or two, I will video how Bella does with this activity. soon.






Sunday, April 24, 2016

So Sorry, It has been so long!!!!!

Update:
I'm not even sure what to say it has been so long.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't be that parent.  I wouldn't be the one that once my kids were adopted I would go silent.  But the thing is, life happens, life gets hard,  and suddenly spending time writing blogs becomes the last thing on the list of things to do during the day.  So today I figured a quick update was better than no update.

Bella is growing and learning so much.  She now has a communication device and knows a ton of signs.  She communicates and interacts, and completely tells us how she is feeling.  She is so dramatic and hard headed.  She loves to swing, and spend time at the park.  She loves school, food, and family.   She is a snugly sweetheart.

Gracie is the most joyful child I have ever met.  She lights up the room when she walks in.  She had a long road to recovery, but we are getting there.  She has had many many doctors appointments over the last few years, and we continue finding ways to help her communicate.  She loves the sun, has favorite toys, interacts with people, and knows she is loved.  She is learning daily, and has even started saying sounds, we are hopeful that one day she will talk.  Even if she doesn't we love her where she is at, and for all that she is.


Last time I wrote, we were headed back to Ukraine to adopt again.  Plans changed and we actually are almost finished with an adoption through foster care.  Gideon has been in our home for almost a year and hopefully we will be headed to Kansas to finish up his adoption within the next month.  Because of the nature of Gideon coming from foster care I really can not give any details until his adoption is finalized.  He is a blessed addition to our family. 

On another note, I'm planning on blogging more often.  I will be changing up the site, and posting educational things that I am doing to help my children learn. Having three children who have multiple disabilities has been challenging to find services that do a great job of teaching. Things like tactile books, position boards, tactile schedules, and story boxes.  Teaching tools that teach to the varying strengths of my kiddos.    So stay tuned.